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Parents Don’t Understand: Navigating the Generation Gap and Straight Edge

Originally Published: Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Written by: Saxon Leigh Yarger 

At sixteen, it’s practically a rite of passage to be at odds with almost everything your parents hold dear. While it may seem cliché, I find myself fitting right into this stereotype, as I stand in stark contrast to my parents when it comes to religion, fashion choices, and lifestyle. This generation gap is common among teenagers and their parents. However, one aspect of my life, in particular, became a point of contention that I didn’t anticipate: my decision to embrace the straight edge lifestyle.

The straight edge lifestyle is defined by a commitment to abstinence from alcohol, recreational drugs, and in some cases, even tobacco. It’s a choice rooted in personal conviction and a desire for a clean and principled life. For teenagers like me, it offers a sense of clarity and control over our lives that aligns with our values. However, the enthusiasm and sense of purpose that the straight edge lifestyle provides doesn’t always translate into approval from our parents.

The Generation Gap and Straight Edge

My story of generational conflict isn’t unique. Many teenagers find themselves in similar situations, facing disapproval or misunderstanding from their parents. It’s possible that these parents simply don’t grasp the depth of commitment that straight edge represents. While some might see it as a fleeting phase, for those of us who genuinely embrace it, it’s a lifelong commitment.

My father, in particular, seems skeptical of my commitment to straight edge. He often makes comments that insinuate my vulnerability to peer pressure and my likelihood of eventually straying from this path. These comments are disheartening, leading me to question whether my choices are indeed the right ones.

Defining Straight Edge for the Youth

Despite the generation gap and the doubts that may arise, I’m determined to stand up not just for myself but also for the young people who share my commitment to a straight edge lifestyle. I want to make it clear that embracing straight edge is not about acquiring scene points or fitting into a youth subculture. It’s about a profound belief in living a clean and principled life.

What’s crucial to understand is that age is not a defining factor in embracing straight edge. It’s about the desire to live free from the influence of harmful substances. It’s about empowerment and setting one’s life on a path that aligns with one’s values and principles.

The Strength in Unity

I want to emphasize the importance of parents respecting and encouraging their children’s beliefs. Straight edge is more than a personal choice; it’s a way of life and a lifelong commitment. It’s not a phase to outgrow; it’s a commendable decision to be proud of.

Straight edge represents more than abstinence; it signifies unity. It’s a shared commitment and a testament to one’s strength of character. It’s not about rebellion; it’s about living by a set of principles that many of us find empowering.

In conclusion, I encourage my fellow straight edge youth to stand strong and stay true to your beliefs. Embrace the straight edge lifestyle for what it truly represents: a positive and principled choice that sets you apart. And to the parents who may have doubts, I implore you to support and respect your children’s decision to lead a clean and principled life.

Together, we can bridge the generation gap and make straight edge more than just a label; we can make it a shared philosophy that transcends age. Straight edge is a family, a commitment, and a source of strength. It’s indeed a commendable way to live, regardless of your age.

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